Investigators probing the case of a missing Tennessee teacher and his former student have made a troubling discovery on the teacher’s public school email account. Tad Cummins, a 50-year-old public school teacher who is suspected of kidnapping his former student, 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, has been on the run for two weeks as a nationwide manhunt has been underway to locate their whereabouts. According to Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper, detectives discovered that Cummins and Thomas had been secretly communicating with one another via Cummins’ school email account. Based on what investigators saw, they concluded that Cummins and Thomas had developed a “romantic interest in each other.”
The two used a trick favored by al Qaeda terrorists and the same one former General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell used to keep their affair secret: Writing missives in drafts and never sending them. “They would write the message and let it save as a draft,” Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper explained. “The other person would log in, read the message and then delete it and then write another message that was saved as a draft.” Cooper said the messages were of an inappropriate nature, but declined to elaborate.
The discovery is the second clue investigators have uncovered that points to an inappropriate romantic relationship. Last week, detectives scoured Cummins’ internet search history and discovered that in the week before he and Thomas disappeared, he’d searched online for information about “teen marriage.”
Meanwhile, the family released video of Thomas speaking with her brother to help members of the public learn and recognize her voice if they come in contact with her. Thomas is said to speak with a slight lisp that makes her voice distinct.
Investigators also revealed that Cummins had performed internet searches for information on forms of encrypted text messaging and that he allegedly stalked Thomas, showing up unannounced at her place of work on multiple occasions. Watch the below video for more on the story.
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